Day 20 & 21: In Which Everyone Does the Lab Wrong

Wednesday, Sept 26 and Thursday, Sept 27

More caught up than I was earlier this week, but still not caught up. I got the Honors labs graded and now have a whole new lesson I need to add from the common mistakes. I wish I’d done that a freaking week ago so I could have had the conversations sooner. BUT it’s done now, and I’ll work on doing better in the future. Graded the regular exams today, and will work on the AP exams this afternoon. I’m getting there. Still have to update canvas and settle on plans for the next few weeks (probably in the reverse order) and a long list of other things, but I’m working down the list.

I am a pen-losing monster. I’ve lost three pens today, and this time they weren’t in my pockets. Every time I walk away from the papers I was grading, I came back to the pen having disappeared. I’m down to my last non-highlighter at school. It’s bright pink and absolutely lovely, but I really don’t want to lose it, too!

Physics: Wednesday was test corrections. I got the dang thangs scored in time for the planned in-class correction day. As always, once I get started, things go pretty quickly. It’s getting over that executive function delay that’s the trouble. Thursday we reviewed the lab and discovered that everyone did it wrong, so I gave them a few days extra to re-do it. The next exam is next Wednesday, which is so painfully close behind and asking students to literally learn two entire chapters in a week and a half.

Honors Physics: Wednesday I reviewed all the common mistakes I found while grading the lab reports with the class. They were largely about the Greenhouse Effect and how air insulates the Earth. It was also about “Earth” being a planet and “earth” being dirt. Proper nouns are things that exist, kiddos. Thursday was a catching up day on the kinetic theory of gases followed by a PhET lab on gas laws. I’m really enjoying teaching thermo, but finding quality labs is far more difficult than I realized when I started this whole plan. We’re about to start the first law of thermo, which means it’s going to be EVEN HARDER to do actual physical labs. We had a brief discussion of the mechanical equivalent of heat to get them started before tomorrow’s reading. I hope that will be helpful.

AP Physics: Still on Dynamics. Wednesday was talking about friction and how to model it with both classes, and Thursday was mostly them watching me doing the four archetypal problems to point out the important pieces of each one to keep in mind when you see combinations of them. I’m solidifying the four archetypes in my brain, and eventually I hope to get them all written out in a useful way to explain my thinking on the whole thing, but I’m going to keep using it in class to find the places where I can tweak it and improve it, as I’ve already both days this week since I first thought of it on Tuesday.

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